Black-topped jar with incised figure of a ram

Egyptian
Predynastic Period
Nagada I, 3850–3650 B.C.


Findspot: Egypt, Abadiya, Tomb B 83

Dimensions

Height x diameter: 23.2 x 11.5 cm (9 1/8 x 4 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

99.710

Medium or Technique

Pottery (Nile silt clay)

On View

Egypt: Pre-Dynastic and Dynastic (Gallery 105A)

Collections

The Ancient World

Classifications

Vessels

The finest pottery wares to have survived from the Pre-dynastic Period were not utilitarian items designed for use in the home, but rather seem to have been made specifically as burial offerings for an emerging elite class. The beauty and technical quality of the finest among them would remain unsurpassed in the long history of Egyptian ceramics.

“Black-topped ware” is handmade of red clay and burnished to a high sheen by rubbing with a smooth stone or pebble. Standing the vessel upside-down in ashes in the kiln during the firing process formed the distinctive black rim. The tall beaker shown here bears an unusual incised image of a ram. The impressionistic rendering of the animal, with its massive curved horns, successfully conveys a sense of movement and grace, foreshadowing the superb representations of animals that would appear later in Egyptian art.


“Black-topped ware” is handmade of red clay and burnished to a high sheen by rubbing with a smooth stone or pebble. Standing the vessel upside-down in ashes in the kiln during the firing process formed the distinctive black rim. The tall beaker shown here bears an unusual incised image of a ram. The impressionistic rendering of the animal, with its massive curved horns, successfully conveys a sense of movement and grace, foreshadowing the superb representations of animals that would appear later in Egyptian art.

Provenance

From Abadiya, tomb B 83. 1898-1899, excavated by William Mathew Flinders Petrie for the Egypt Exploration Fund; sent over directly from Cairo on March 9, 1899 by Arthur C. Mace.
(Accessioned on: October 1, 1899)

Credit Line

Egypt Exploration Fund by subscription